Tenancy in severaltyIf a single party ownsthe fee or life estate, the ownership is a tenancyin severalty. Synonyms aresole ownership, ownership in severalty, and estate in severalty. When the would-be sole owner is a husband or wife, state laws may require homestead, dower or elective share rights to be released to allow ownership free and clear of any marriage-related claims.The estate of a deceased tenant in severalty passes to heirs by probate.If more than one person, or a legal entity such as a corporation, owns an estate in land, the estate is held in some form of co-ownership. Co-owners are also called co-tenants.Tenancy in commonThe tenancy in common, also known as the estate in common, is the most common form of co-ownership when the owners are not married. The defining characteristics aretwo or more ownersidentical rightsinterests individually ownedelectable ownership sharesno survivorshipno unity of timeTwo or more owners. Any number of people may be co-tenants in a single property.Identical rights. Co-tenants share an indivisible interest in the estate, i.e., all have equal rights to possess and use the property subject to the rights of the other co-tenants. No co-tenant may claim to own any physical portion of the property exclusively. They share what is called undivided possession or unity of possession.Interests individually owned. All tenants in common have distinct and separable ownership of their respective interests. Co-tenants may sell, encumber, or transfer their interests without obstruction or consent from the other owners. ( A co-tenant may not, however, encumber the entire property.)Electable ownership shares. Tenants in common determine among themselves what share of the estate each party will own. For example, three co-tenants may own 40%, 35%, and 25% interests in a property, respectively. In the absence of stated ownership shares, it is assumed that each has a share equal to that of the others.In a joint tenancy, two or more persons collectively own a property asif they were a single person. Rights and interests are indivisible and equal: each has a shared interest in the whole property which cannot be divided up. Joint tenants may only convey their interests to outside parties as tenant-in-common interests. One can not convey a joint
tenant interest. The defining characteristics and requirements of joint tenancy are:unity of ownershipequal ownershiptransfer of interestsurvivorshipUnity of ownership.